My best chocolate pudding recipe to date. It took me almost thirty dollars in premium chocolate and four lackluster attempts to eventually come up with a chocolate pudding recipe special enough to share with you. I made not only bland, flat, and gelatinous puddings, but also runny and boring chocolate puddings before I finally turned out this keeper of a batch. It is deeply dark and impossibly chocolatety, rich, glossy, fragrant, and un-lumpy. I used a coconut milk base in place of dairy, and infused it with a whisper of warming spices to give it an unexpected, ambiguously exotic je ne sais quoi.
On my journey to the final recipe, I ran into a few issues and problems that needed to be addressed. I had a pudding in mind - it would be a serious and sophisticated dark chocolate pudding made with a coconut milk base, arrowroot would be used as the thickener, non-alkalized cocoa powder (not dutched) would be enlisted, as would a semi-sweet chocolate bar. I'm usually relatively close to the mark when I imagine how ingredients might come together into a final creation or recipe, but my first attempt here was remarkably off. The pudding took almost twelve hours to achieve any sort of set, and even then it was on the runny side. It dawned on me the acidity in the non-alkalized cocoa powder might be rendering the arrowroot thickener ineffective, so I corrected for that variable and made changes a bit at a time over the course of five batches until I finally had a chocolate pudding recipe that matched the one in my imagination.
So here it is! The great thing is it only takes a few minutes of active cooking time. You can play around with a few of the variables - for example, it might be fun to use one of those uniquely-spiced Vosges chocolate bars in place of the straight semi-sweet. If you want to use regular or low-fat milk, give it a go. You can use cornstarch, but it didn't deliver the smooth glossy texture and sheen that came with using arrowroot powder. I also mention a few other variables to play with in the recipe head notes.
Coconut Chocolate Pudding Recipe
I used Scharffen Berger 62% semi-sweet chocolate in this pudding, I also did a batch with 70% - delicious. You can play around with a few of the variables here. For example, it might be fun to use one of the uniquely spiced Vosges chocolate bars in place of the straight semi-sweet. I used raz el hanout spice blend here - but you should feel free to experiment with your favorite curry spice blend. If you want to use regular or low-fat milk in place of the coconut milk, give it a go. For a more pronounced coconut flavor, you might want to add a small splash of coconut extract.
1 14-ounce can of coconut milk (lite is fine), divided
3 tablespoons sugar
scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup arrowroot powder, sifted
1 teaspoon raz el hanout spice blend or curry powder, (optional)
3 tablespoons alkalized dutch-cocoa powder, sifted
1 3.5-ounce bar semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut flakes, toasted in a dry skillet
Shake the can of coconut milk vigorously for a few seconds. In a heavy saucepan bring 1 1/4 cups of the coconut milk, sugar, and the salt (just) to a simmer over low heat.
While that is heating, in a seperate bowl whisk together the remaining coconut milk, arrowroot powder, spice blend (or curry powder), and cocoa powder. It should look like a chocolate frosting.
When the coconut milk and sugar mixture has started simmering take about 1/4 cup of it and whisk it little by little into the arrowroot mixture, creating a slurry. Turn down the heat to the very lowest setting. Now drizzle the arrowroot slurry mixture into the simmering pan of coconut milk whisking vigorously all the while. Keep whisking until the pudding comes back up barely to a simmer and thickens up a bit, about a minute.
Remove the saucepan from heat, continue whisking while it is cooling for about a minute. Now whisk in the chocolate and vanilla. Keep stirring until the pudding is smooth. Place in a refrigerator to chill thoroughly. To prevent a skin from forming press plastic up against the surface of the pudding. Serve dusted with the coconut flakes and a tiny pinch of spices (orcurry powder).